Volunteers provide food to communities whose grocery stores were looted, destroyed

Paul Kurtz
June 04, 2020 - 6:08 pm
Volunteers provide food to communities whose grocery stores were looted, destroyed.

Paul Kurtz/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio)  Two of the stores that were hit hardest by this week's looting in Philadelphia were supermarkets in neighborhoods that were once known as food deserts. Both grocery stores are now temporarily closed, but the owner of both stores is working with organizations in the city to find a way to continue providing food.

At 52nd and Viola streets, a steady stream of cars pulled up and stopped briefly outside Parkside Association, where volunteers for the Share Food Program were waiting to hand out boxes of nonperishable items and bags of oranges. 

The nonprofit has been providing the free service there and at Allegheny West Foundation in North Philadelphia twice a week since the start of the pandemic. 

Share Food executive director George Matysik said they’re now adding those looted stores’ customers to that mix.

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“What we’re doing is partnering with ShopRite to take any excess food that they have and any additional food from the Share Food Program to make sure that as these grocery stores are closed, the community is still getting as much food as they need,” he said. 

For now, Share Food is the primary source of nonperishable food for people in both areas. 

It’s far from an ideal situation, but beleaguered neighbors say they’ll take it.

“Whatever can help feed my family,” said Deon Williams.

“I take care of a 90-year-old woman and if I don’t bring her food, she doesn’t have anything to eat. So it’s really difficult and this really helps. But I will not be able to get meats and stuff and cold items. So I’ll have to go outside the county. Thank God I drive,” said Roz Porter.

The food will be distributed from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday until the grocery stores reopen.